Child Support

Demystifying Child Support for Men in California

Paying child support is a common requirement for fathers during and after divorce proceedings in California. However, the specifics of how child support is determined and modified can be confusing. Below we’ll walk through the key factors impacting child support from the perspective of a father living in California.

Understanding the principles governing child support can help you make informed decisions protecting your rights as a dad.

California Child Support Guidelines

California has state-wide child support guidelines to determine standard payment amounts based on the following:

  • Custodial timeshare – More custodial time means lower payments
  • Income of both parents – Higher-earning parent pays more
  • Tax filing status – Married or single status is considered
  • Number of children – More kids mean higher support

Deviations from the guidelines require justification.

Income Considerations

California assesses income from all sources, not just W-2 wages, when calculating support:

  • Self-employment or gig economy earnings
  • Rental property revenue
  • Stock dividends and interest
  • Severance or retirement payouts
  • A new spouse’s income may count too

Fluctuating or one-time income is handled differently.

Modifying Support Orders

You can request modifications of existing child support orders when:

  • Custodial timeshare changes significantly
  • Income increases or decreases substantially
  • A child is emancipated or reaches the age of 18
  • Parenting costs change, like childcare or insurance

Modifications require filing motions and varied lead times.

Visitation Impacts

If you are denied court-ordered visitation, support payments may be stopped until:

  • Visitation is allowed
  • Custody orders are modified

Document all denials of visitation rigorously.

Tax Considerations

  • Child support paid is not tax deductible federally
  • Payments received by custodial parents are not taxed
  • Some states allow deductions for payors with varying limits

Consult a tax professional about possible state deductions.

Enforcement Actions

If you fall behind on child support as the paying parent, you may face:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Seizure of tax refunds
  • Suspension of driver’s or professional licenses
  • Jail time in extreme non-compliance

Avoid arrears by addressing changes in income immediately.

The child support landscape can be complex for fathers in California divorces. Working with an experienced lawyer to understand the nuances is key to protecting your rights while meeting your obligations as a dad. Consistent, on-time payments also demonstrate your commitment to providing for your children’s needs.

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